Bhutan Travel Guide

About Bhutan

Located in the lap of eastern Himalayas, tucked in between Tibet and India, Bhutan is one of the pristine domains situated in South Asia. This unblemished land is renowned for immense natural allurement, cultural heritage, and fascinating wildlife. Bhutan is highly influenced by Buddhist culture thus; Buddhism is a major religion here whereas Hinduism is the second most prevalent religion. Bhutan entails some stunning places including Ancient Ruin of Drukgyel Dzong, Tamzhing monastery, Royal Manas National Park, Jigme Dorji National Park, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, and Dzongs. This restricted vicinity is truly embellished by the grandeur of nature. 

Visa information

Visa obtaining procedure in Bhutan vastly differs from that in South Asia. You must apply for Bhutanese visa at least 30 days before your visit. All visas in Bhutan are issued from Thimpu, capital of Bhutan. To obtain your visa, you must book your trip directly or through a foreign travel agent with a license to operate trips in Bhutan. You will require a valid passport and four copies of passport size photographs to fill up the tourist visa application form which is submitted to Bhutan Foreign Ministry by the tour operator. Bhutanese visa fee is USD 40 per person and the visa can also be expanded by paying the additional visa fee of 510 Nu (Bhutanese Currency Ngultrum, 1 US dollar = 73.91 Bhutanese ngultrums). However, tourists from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives do not require the visa to enter Bhutan.

How to reach Bhutan

There are only two ways to enter Bhutan; either by airways or by roadways. Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are the two national carries of Bhutan that flies regularly to Paro. In comparison to other cities, Bangkok, Kathmandu, and Kolkata offer regular flight services to Bhutan. On the off chance if you are entering Bhutan through roadways then, there are only three authorized entry/exit point in Bhutan. The first entry point is located at Phuntsholing in southwest Bhutan, second is positioned at Samdrup Jongkar in the Far southeast whereas the third entry point is located at Gelephu in central southern Bhutan.

The popular destination to visit

Adorned in charm and delicacy of nature, Bhutan without a doubt is an ideal destination for travelers who are seeking natural and spiritual contentment. The extravagant mountains and rugged terrain make Bhutan a paradise for tourists. Bhutan possesses a wide range of places to be explored including a long list of monasteries, forts, trekking sports, etc. however, some of the popular destinations to visit in Bhutan that bestow cultural and natural delight is:

  • Rinpung Dzong
  • Chele La Pass (3,989m)
  • Punakha Dzong
  • Buddha Dordenma Statue
  • Dochula Pass
  • Tiger’s Nest
  • Phobjikha Valley
  • Chomolhari
  • Norzin Lam Street
  •  Tashichho Dzong
  •  Motithang Takin Preserve
  •  National Museum of Bhutan 

Things to do in Bhutan

Although Bhutan is locked by two giant nations; China and India, it offers an assortment of trip activities for all its tourists. The most admired touristic activities in Bhutan include exploration of rural villages that have preserved medieval customs and traditional values, visit Punakha Dzong; a classic example of ancient Bhutanese architecture, and exploration of Tiger’s Nest. Likewise, you can also observe and delve yourself in the celebration of joyous local festivals such as Tshechus or enjoy the traditional dance with nomads at the highest settlement in Bhutan. You can also witness the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan which have been practiced since the 15th century. In addition, you can also relish the hike up to Jomolhari Laya Gasa that offers stunning views of unblemished sceneries in Bhutan.

People/ food/ culture

Dominated by the Buddhist culture, Buddhism is the most followed religion in Bhutan and about 75% of the aggregate population follows it. Likewise, Hinduism is the second most prevalent religion followed by the people of Bhutan as about 23% of the population follows Hinduism whereas only 0.2% of the population follows Muslim religion. Bhutanese cuisine is highly influenced by Chinese, Tibetan and Indian dishes. Unpolished red rice with vegetables, chilies, and meat are the basic ingredients used in typical Bhutanese meal. Ema Datshi is referred to as the national dish of Bhutan which is made with cheese and chili. Thus, if you are not used to consuming spicy food, you can also taste international cuisines here including Chinese, Indian, and Nepalese cuisines.

Banking, ATM’s and Money in Bhutan

Ngultrum is the national currency of Bhutan which is equal to Indian rupees. Nu.1, Nu.5, Nu.10, Nu.20, Nu.50, Nu.100, Nu.500, Nu.1000 are the bank notes alongside coins of Ch.20, Ch.25, and Ch.50. Basically, ATM’s of Bank of Bhutan, Bhutan National Bank, and Druk PNB Bank accept foreign credit cards. All banks in Bhutan provide currency/cheque exchange services. ATM services are available 24 hours a day. Most of the traveling expenses in Bhutan are limited to Nu 10,000 or Nu15,000. You can also easily access the local money exchangers at Paro or Thimpu to exchange your currency. However, carrying adequate cash for the trip is advisable.

Internet and communication in Bhutan

Bhutan provides accurate telecommunication system which permits us to fax and have international dialing facilities in most of the accommodation units. You can also use smartphones with Bhutanese Sim card in most of the urban areas as well as to a few remote regions of Bhutan. You may even get access to the Internet at a few places however this service isn't accessible all over Bhutan. Dalsey Hillblom Lynn (DHL) provides reliable courier services to and from Bhutan. The administrative body for communication services in Bhutan is Bhutan Information Communications & Media Authority (BICMA) which was established in January 2000AD under the Ministry of Communications.

Traveling alone in Bhutan

Bhutan is an astonishing destination for travel enthusiasts. It's one of those spots that you need to visit at any cost once in your lifetime. Traveling alone into the vicinity of Bhutan is completely safe and will give your traveling aspiration a radical point of view. It is a matter of common sense to keep your belongings safe and under close supervision. So, we advise you to be cautious during the length of your trip. Avalanches regularly occur in the slope regions yet are exceptionally extraordinary to the territories around Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha. It is genuinely suggested to maintain a strategic distance from undertaking any trips toward the northeast slopes amid the storm.

Safety and security

Bhutan is a completely safe country to travel around the world. Legitimate Bhutanese travel agency operates trips to Bhutan as it is relatively hard to acquire Bhutanese Visa and access to the country. The police departments in Thimpu provide late night security services to ensure the safety of travelers as well as local residents. Thus, trips to Bhutan do not involve any major risks.